Google reportedly gave $150,000 worth of free advertising to an anti-abortion group, according to a public filing.
The Obria Group, based out of Southern California, is a non-profit which reportedly targets women seeking abortions in order to sway them from doing so. The group, which describes themselves as being funded by a Catholic organization and as providing “life-affirming care,” received a $120,000 advertising grant from Google in 2015 and another $32,000 grant in 2011, the Guardian reported.
The Google advertising grant is a part of a company program aimed at supporting nonprofit organizations around the world.
Google awarded Obria the grant despite the fact that it faced criticism just one year prior when an investigation from pro-choice group NARAL found out that the search engine was promoting ads for “crisis pregnancy centers” when users searched for “abortion clinics,” the Washington Post reported at the time.
According to the outlet, NARAL’s investigation found that 79 percent of the crisis pregnancy centers that advertised on Google indicated that they provided medical services such as abortions, when, in fact, they are focused on counseling services and on providing information about alternatives to abortion.
The ads were later removed after Google found them to violate their policy.
No specific crisis pregnancy centers were mentioned in the Washington Post’s report but according to The Guardian, many of Obria’s clinics across the US suggest on their websites that they offer abortion, when in reality, the group is opposed to abortion and all forms of contraception.
This has stoked concerns for reproductive rights groups and activists, who say Americans deserve an explanation from Google.
“The more we learn about Obria, the more questions we have. We know why the federal government and its anti-abortion cronies rolled out the red carpet for a so-called ‘health care provider’ that does not offer birth control and peddles medically unproven services. But why is Google following in those anti-science footsteps? Taxpayers and the hundreds of millions of Americans who use Google deserve an explanation,” Mary Alice Carter, executive director of Equity Forward told the Independent.
Alice Huling from the watchdog group, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability, said Google is often the first resource women turn to when looking to have an abortion, and that the ads for anti-abortion clinics are spreading “misinformation.”
“Google should not allow CPCs to use its platform to serve misinformation to pregnant women,” Huling told The Guardian.
“Google’s business model is predicated on serving ads to customers, and the company is clearly uninterested in taking the steps necessary to crack down on misleading ads placed by CPCs.”
While Google did not comment specifically on the grant, they provided The Guardian with the following statement: “The Google ad grants program is open to qualified non-profits regardless of their position on abortion and we give grants to nearly 50 thousand organizations globally that represent a wide spectrum of views and causes.
“All grant recipients have to abide by our ad policies, which prohibit misrepresentation in ads. If we find ads that violate our policies, we remove them.”
Obria first came under the spotlight when it was awarded $1.7 million in federal funds known as Title X funding. Title X pays for birth control as well as testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings. It serves about 4 million women annually and costs taxpayers about $260 million, the Telegraph reported.
The Trump administration’s move to fund Obria is interpreted by some as the administration’s preference for faith-based groups intended to steer women away from abortion.
“We’re very concerned that by Obria entering into the program, they are denying women information about all their health care options,” Julie Rabinovitz, president and CEO of Essential Access Health, told the Telegraph.
“It could really reduce the progress we have made in reducing unintended pregnancies.”
A spokesperson from Obria was not immediately available for comment.
Credit: Source link